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This is a thrilling portrait of the extraordinary childhood of Pearl Buck, the w-forgotten bestselling Nobel Prize winning velist. Pearl Buck was raised in China by her American parents, Presbyterian missionaries from Virginia. Blonde and blue-eyed she looked startlingly foreign, but felt as at home as her Chinese companions. She ran free on the grave-littered grasslands behind her house, often stumbling across the tiny bones of baby girls who had been suffocated at birth. Buck's father was a terrifying figure, with a maniacal zeal for religious conversion - a passion rarely shared by the local communities he targeted. He drained the family's budget for his Chinese translation of the New Testament, while his aggrieved, long-suffering wife did her utmost to create a homely environment for her children, several of whom died tragically young. Pearl Buck would eventually rise to eminence in America as a bestselling author, but in this startlingly original biography, Spurling recounts with elegance and great insight her unspeakable upbringing in a China that was virtually unkwn to the West.
Hilary Spurling is the author of La Grande Therese, and won the Whitbread Book of the Year 2005 for her biography of Henri Matisse. Her biography of Ivy Compton-Burnett won the Heinemann and Duff Cooper prizes. She has been an arts critic for the Spectator, Observer and Telegraph, and lives in London.
Winner of James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize: Biography 2011.